Should we ladies or gents ever be transported back in time how thrilling it would be to wear the clothes of the time, except it would take an age just learning how to wear them. Until the early twentieth century a man’s shirt was no more than an undergarment and so no self-respecting fellow would ever have appeared in his shirtsleeves, particularly in front of a lady. So used to freedom of movement, we would undoubtedly stumble over the hems of our skirts, struggle to breathe in a corset and fail to master all the languages of the fan. Being a woman in the past was a full-time occupation. We had to learn from childhood how to move in a long skirt: get used to taking little steps and only stride out perhaps when privately taking the air. We had to remember to slew ourselves sideways through a door in our crinolines and walk slightly in front of or behind a companion as it was impossible in such a monstrosity to get too close to anyone. Plus we had to remember to manoeuvre our bustles in such a way as to enable us to be able to sit down without there being a catastrophe.
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